“When I was a young artist, I had so much help from other people,” says ceramist Martine Vermeulen. “So many people helped me that I feel I have to give back now, and it’s my turn to help young people or artists that aren’t known, and expose the public to them.”
Vermeulen formed Creative Crossroads in order to do just that. With the help of volunteers, she curates monthly shows from November through May each year of creative work by relatively unknown talents, mounting the exhibitions at the Stanford Grange in Stanfordville. “Nothing would be possible without the support of the Grange,” she says, “which gives us this wonderful space.”
The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry was founded in 1867 to encourage farmers to band together to promote their economic well-being. The fraternal organization today maintains more than 2,100 community Grange Halls in small rural communities nationwide.
Grange Hall #808 in Stanfordville will be the site of the next exhibit produced by Creative Crossroads, “Stitch by Stitch: The Art of Needlework.” The show will feature some 50 works of embroidery and needlepoint by the members of the Skyllkill Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Inc. The show will be open over two weekends, Friday through Sunday, May 15 to 17 and May 22 to 24 from 12 noon to 5 p.m.
The Hyde Park-based Skyllkill Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America has more than 90 members, most living in Dutchess County. The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at St. James Church in Hyde Park. Their works on display in “Stitch by Stitch” will highlight the variety of methods and materials in needle art. Designs range from bold graphics to pictorial landscapes, and the dimensional quality of needlework is best seen in person. For instance, one skilled in colorwork can accomplish detailed shading effects through clever gradation of threads.
By offering exposure to different types of artists and modes of creativity, Vermeulen hopes to expand people’s definitions of what art can be. Recent shows produced by Creative Crossroads at the Grange have included exhibits of antique quilts, hooked rugs, baskets and weathervanes created by a local ironworker. “I have found all these wonderful people, dedicated to their art,” she says. “And the public is largely uneducated about these types of things.”
Painting and photography have also found their place in exhibits put together by Creative Crossroads. Pine Plains-based painter John Greene was featured in the first show several years ago, followed by a photography exhibit called “Our Past Revisited” showcasing old photos from the region. Another exhibit juxtaposed the work of a painter and photographer who each interpreted the same landscape. Poetry readings are also regularly held.
All events are free and open to the public. After the needlework show closes, Creative Crossroads will take a break for the summer, with the next exhibit to be held in November. Vermeulen welcomes submissions for future shows at CreativeCrossroads12581@gmail.com.
“Stitch by Stitch: The Art of Needlework,” Friday-Sunday, May 15-17, May 22-24, 12 noon-5 p.m., free, Stanford Grange, 6043 Route 82, Stanfordville.